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Friday 11 May 2012

Manchester derby wins 20 Seasons Best Match

Man Utd's 4-3 win over Man City in September 2009 wins the public vote

Man City's Craig Bellamy produced a stunning display, but it was not enough to earn a draw

The Manchester derby at Old Trafford in September 2009 has won the public vote to decide Best Match in the Premier League's 20 Seasons Awards.

Manchester United's 4-3 victory over Manchester City on 20th September has been voted the greatest match in the 20-year history of the Premier League by hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world.

"It's probably the best derby of all time"
- Sir Alex Ferguson in 2009

Michael Owen's winner six minutes into stoppage time won a truly epic encounter for the champions at Old Trafford, with Darren Fletcher also scoring twice for Man Utd and Craig Bellamy grabbing two for Man City.

At the time, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson called it "probably the best derby of all time", while his then City counterpart Mark Hughes added: "We're disappointed, we put in a hell of a shift today."

Wayne Rooney's opener was cancelled out by Gareth Barry, before Fletcher twice handed United the lead in the 49th and 80th minutes, only for Bellamy to draw City level after 52 minutes and then after 90.

But Owen popped up in the dying seconds with a typically assured poacher's finish to send Old Trafford in raptures and keep United on Chelsea's coattails at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

With 10 matches nominated and in contention in the Premier League's 20 Seasons Awards public vote, this was the order of the top three along with what percentage of the vote they garnered:

  • 18% - Man Utd 4-3 Man City, 20/09/2009
  • 15% - Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle, 03/04/1996
  • 14% - Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal, 21/04/2009

Second and third

The runner-up was the match that won in the 10 Seasons Awards, the classic Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle match from April 1996.

Newcastle travelled to third-placed Liverpool only three points behind leaders Manchester United and desperately needing a victory, and Les Ferdinand and David Ginola put the Magpies ahead after Robbie Fowler's early goal for the Reds.

After Fowler levelled, Tino Asprilla restored the visitors' lead, but Stan Collymore was to have his decisive say on proceedings.

The Liverpool striker bundled in to make it 3-3 then, in the dying moments, with space on the left of the area, Collymore smashed in a near-post drive which left Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan stunned and the Magpies' title hopes in tatters.

Another Anfield classic was close behind in third - their 4-4 draw with Arsenal in April 2009, a match which will be forever associated with an exceptional display from Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin.

The Russian scored either side of Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun goals to make it 2-2 before pouncing for his hat-trick, only to see Torres level it once more at 3-3.

Arshavin completed an astonishing four-goal haul from a breakaway, and although Benayoun's injury-time leveller denied Arshavin the label of match-winner, it was a fitting conclusion to an amazing contest.

There were 300,000 fans who voted in the Premier League 20 Seasons Awards casting over 4.2m votes in five categories: Goal, Match, Save, Goal Celebration and Fantasy Team of the 20 Seasons.

In addition, there are also six panel categories: Player, Manager, Team, Season, Most Memorable Quote and Fantasy Team of the 20 Seasons.

The winners are being announced leading up to Tuesday May 15th, when there is a special presentation ceremony to honour several winners and the the Player and Manager of the 20 Seasons Awards will be announced.

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Key Points

  • Man Utd 4-3 Man City is Best Match in Premier League's 20 Seasons Awards
  • Epic took place at Old Trafford in September 2009
  • Special ceremony to honour several winners will take place on Tuesday 15th May